RSS LinkedIn Google Plus

Call us: 0800 014 9884

Mobile web or Responsive Web Design?

Same goal, different method

A boom in mobile technology in recent years means that the internet can now be accessed from a wide range of different devices, from computers to smartphones to tablet devices. As a result, the development of mobile websites has become necessary to ensure that content is optimised for viewing via different mediums.

In 2010, prominent web designer and developer Ethan Marcotte suggested the concept of Responsive Web Design (RWD), to achieve the same goal as mobile websites using an alternative method. RWD is the use of a single fluid grid-based layout that allows it to respond to the size of the  display of a device, catering for the needs of the user no matter how they access the website. Since Marcotte’s proposal, the idea has gathered momentum and 2012 is expected to see a growing trend in this field among designers and developers.

There are many arguments both for and against RWD. On the positive side, it saves development time because there is only one set of HTML code; and in design terms, there is no need to create a separate mobile website, avoiding multiple sets of extensions and amendments whenever changes are required.

Content-driven websites pose a challenge

Potential problems include the differing functions and user experiences of smartphones and tablet devices when compared with desktop computers and laptops. It is also important to consider that many websites are very content-driven and feature lots of text and images. The latter can take a long time to load and aren’t ideal for mobile devices, as mobile users tend to want quick, precise information. It is therefore better if content is condensed for small devices.

Many companies already favour the mobile web – and, following investment in this, it is unlikely that they will be willing to switch to RWD. However, there are examples of websites which use RWD very effectively. The success of an RWD website can be measured by looking at its intended purpose – to be accessible to users across a range of different screens and devices – and see how well it performs. For example, the layout of the Boston Globe website translates well into a linear format. The navigation changes into a drop-down menu to save space, while sections and articles fall neatly into a logical order, producing an accessible user experience.

The advantages and disadvantages of RWD compared with the mobile web suggest that a wise solution may be to use the advantages of both. For example, using the mobile web’s ability to optimise content and use smaller image file sizes; and RWD’s fluid grid, which allows content to adapt to the device on which it is viewed. The internet is in a constant state of change, and even if RWD isn’t used in its entirety, designers and developers are increasingly likely to adopt its principles into their work.

Chris Au

[Screen capture (top): Ethan Marcotte's Responsive Web Design from abookapart.com.] 

Written by chris_au_swapChris Au

Google continues to improve Knowledge Graph Tuesday 3rd of March, 2015by Andy Williams Google has continued the Stateside expansion of its Knowledge Graph feature by including hotel booking information within city search results.

More on this story »

Google proposes to rank websites on facts Wednesday 4th of March, 2015by Martin Lindley Websites may soon see their Google rankings affected if they fail to meet the criteria set out in a new trustworthiness ranking, Knowledge Based Trust (KBT).

More on this story »

Google launches AdWords Android app Thursday 5th of March, 2015by Dan Moores The AdWords app allows users to monitor their campaigns through stats and figures, and also enables adjustments to budgets and bids. It is currently only available to Android users.

More on this story »
theEword - 3 hours ago

Digital marketing tip #9: Social media is no longer free http://t.co/vBFOoo1NCR http://t.co/oF2uGNNMc8

Reply Retweet Favourite
theEword - 5 hours ago

Pinterest is testing animated ad pins to grab your attention: http://t.co/cC4hOKpvEu

Reply Retweet Favourite
theEword - 1 day ago

Google proposes to rank websites on facts: http://t.co/h2csehd9z4 http://t.co/2CkJjMyBqZ

Reply Retweet Favourite
theEword - 1 day ago

Digital marketing tip #8: You must be a film maker http://t.co/vBFOoo1NCR http://t.co/kUVs3GDhjN

Reply Retweet Favourite
theEword - 1 day ago

Google continues to improve Knowledge Graph: http://t.co/rrVn7MJRc0

Reply Retweet Favourite

Five ways to ensure you're writing great content in 2015 Friday 6th of February, 2015by Dan Moores 2014's Google algorithm updates made it very clear that 'Google-friendly' and 'reader-friendly' are starting to mean the same thing. We need to impress audiences, not search engines.

More on this story »

What do you need to know about your prospective customers th... Tuesday 10th of February, 2015by Sian English Do you really know the right things about your prospective customers? The more you know, the more targeted you can be with any marketing activity, and, the faster your business will grow.

More on this story »

Starstruck: five tricks from Hollywood you can use to write ... Wednesday 25th of February, 2015by Martin Lindley The stars have something that we want. You know the answer. They have attention. But is there anything Hollywood uses to get attention that we can also use? Yes. Let me explain.

More on this story »

Who loves theEword

Who loves theEword Who loves theEword